Tuned In

The Morning After: Three for Three

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David A., Archuletting a Billy Joel tearjerker in the Final Three. / F. Micelotta / Fox / Getty

My American Idol reviews are now up at time.com. My prediction this week—Syesha—is not exactly rocket science, but even though I don’t think she deserves to win the thing (she’s looking at a nice Broadway career), I still feel bad for her given the way the judges felt compelled to put the fix in on her last night. There was too much of the invisible hand of the producers in the judges’ comments last night, too much of a “Must… tell… voters… to eject… Syesha” compulsion. If anything, her one hope tonight is sympathy votes from viewers who don’t like having their vote dictated to them. Call it the West Virginia effect.

That said, the bigger question this week is: who gains most from her exit? Does Syesha’s base gravitate more to David A. or David C. as their second choice? My guess is David A. if anyone, although she’s sufficiently different from both that it may just be a wash.

In any case, the final (assuming Syesha doesn’t pull it out in a shocker) won’t be the foregone conclusion last year’s was, so that’ll be better from a sheer entertainment standpoint. I think either Cook or Archuleta could win this on a good night. But who would gain more from winning? Who wants it more? (OK, Archuleta’s father wants it most of all. I mean besides him.) And does anyone want to make the case for a Mercado upset?